Remove the speed log to prevent damage: This is common sense, but easily forgotten. The log is a simple paddle wheel that is generally located just forward of the keel, just where one of the lifting straps will probably go. Removing this is easy and done whilst the boat is in the water. Unscrew the speed log and remove, the through hole that the log has just come out of has a water flap that will close when the water tries to come in, (you will get some water coming in) but don’t panic just insert the replacement bung in the hole and screw it down in the same way that you removed the speed log – job done.
Ensuer lifting straps are correctly locatd: Once you have manoeuvred your boat into the lifting dock, shore lines have been secured and the engine off; the lifting team will bring in the travel lift and locate the straps under boat in readiness for lifting. Before they apply any upward pressure to the straps you must be 100% sure that the straps are not lying across any protruding engine intake grills or even worse the shaft! The only real safe way to avoid serious damage is to either consult the architects horizontal plans of the vessel to see exactly where the important gear is, send a diver down or, whilst she was initially layed up out of the water, make sure you mark where the straps are to go.
Isolate the main engine cooling system: As your boat comes out of the water, a fair amount of water will fall away from her and drain out of numerous skin fittings and hull through holes. Depending on the work you are getting done onboard, you might want to consider closing the main engine raw water intake valve. That way when she eventually goes back into the water again the engine cooling system will be already primed and ready for action. (Just don’t forget to open the sea cock again once you are ready to start the engine).
Don’t forget to look up as well as down: This is an easy one to forget – the moment comes and it’s time to lift her out of the water, a boat owners pride and joy coming out of the water isn’t a sight often seen, so it is normal that everyone is avidly watching to see what the underwater section of the boat looks like, is there a lot of growth or what condition are the zinc anodes etc… During this moment of upward motion you must try and remember the rig and rigging and what is happening up in the air – the main thing to watch for is to check that the forestay and / or backstay (depending on how your are being lifted) is clear of the travel lift support beam.
AFTER LIFTING, BEFORE LAUNCH:
Never try to “bend-on” or “remove” sails whilst on the hard: An obvious one this, but one that I have seen done by too many people putting their boat and lives at risk. Whilst on the hard your boat is only sured by a dozen or so wooden / metal supports, your boat is not amazingly stable out of the water – so don’t start getting sails out when she is out of the water, even the slightest puff of wind could fill the sail and apply pressure in the wrong place and….well you get the idea. Do sail maintenance in the water.
Bleed the stern gland after launch: On launch day there are always quite a few things to think about and ensure are ready. There is one task that is of absolute paramount imprtance and must not be forgotten. When the boat goes back into the water she will undoubtedly have some air locks in her tubes, the majority these will bleed out without a problem but there is one that you should always check – the stern gland. (The piece of rubber that stops sea water coming in to the boat around the propellor shaft). As the shaft turns, so do parts of the gland. With one part stationery and one part moving, friction heat can soon develop, the cooling of this friction heat is done by sea water so if this gland is not bled properly and there is an airlock then there is a possibility that the gland will melt or become damaged and then start to leak.